(CHICAGO) — A convicted murderer who was mistakenly released from a Chicago jail is back in custody Saturday, after authorities used leads and interviews with his family and friends to successfully track him down.
Steven L. Robbins, 44, of Gary, Ind., was rearrested without incident late Friday night in northeastern Illinois, and is in the custody of the Cook County Sheriff’s Office, said Sheriff Thomas J. Dart in a news release.
Robbins was improperly released from jail as a result of what Dart had called “a clerical error” that was chalked up to an outdated paperwork system.
Robbins was serving a 60-year prison sentence after being convicted of shooting a man who tried to break up an altercation Robbins was having with his wife in Indiana in 2002.
He was brought to Chicago by Cook County sheriff’s deputies on Wednesday for 20-year-old outstanding criminal warrant involving drug charges — but unbeknownst to authorities, the case had actually been dismissed in 2007, reported ABC News Chicago station WLS.
Following the court appearance, Robbins was taken to a jail on the South Side of Chicago, and was subsequently released later in the day, rather than returning to Indiana to continue serving his murder sentence.
Robbins walked out of jail in civilian clothing given to him by the jail, according to ABC’s Chicago affiliate WLS.
The Cook County Sheriff’s Office launched a campaign to apprehend Robbins on Friday.
Sheriff Thomas Dart pointed to the office’s paper records system for the serious slip up.
“Because no paperwork had gone to the jail about him coming from Indiana, all the people in the records room saw was a guy whose court case was dismissed,” he said. “And so he — like another 200 people a day we release — was released…out the front door of the jail.
“It’s all a paper system,” Dart said. “And so when people start thinking it’s maybe an inside job, the unfortunate reality is all these different detainees that we’re dealing with every day — and we move 1,500 a day — the entire trail is a paper trail. It’s not a computer message from the courtroom to the jail saying, ‘Keep him for another 30 days or release him.’ It’s a piece of paper. We’re not happy that it’s that way. We’ve been trying to get it computerized, but it’s not there.”
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